The 125-room Hotel Vermont opened in May with almost every aspect of it having a local Burlington touch, and guests experience this almost immediately after stepping inside the building’s rustic New England interior.
The locally developed, owned, designed and operated property greets guests with a wood-burning hearth in the lobby surrounded by hand-crafted furniture made from sustainably-forested timber from Shelburne, Vt. The floor in the lobby is made of poured cement with shells and stones from the shores of nearby Lake Champlain, and the oak wood floor in the lobby level Juniper bar and restaurant was sourced from a barn in Marshfield, Vt. And these are just the sustainable elements at first glance.
The same eco-philosophy is incorporated into the meetings hosted in the 2,200 sf of indoor space or the hotel’s three green roof areas. The hotel’s General Manager Hans van Wees says the hotel’s food and beverage program is based on locally sourced ingredients creating healthy coffee breaks and family-style dining. He also says that even the pens given to attendees are made from recycled paper.
“The hotel does not use bottled water and canned sodas,” says van Wees. “Instead, we offer recycled glass bottles with filtered water, sparkling or plain, with fresh fruit or herbs added. Healthy coffee breaks include all locally sourced and onsite produced food selections.”
The hotel’s Juniper bar and restaurant uses “ingredients good for guests, the environment, the community and the future generations of Vermont,” says Chef de Cuisine Douglas Paine. On the current menu, those ingredients have been included in dishes such as roasted pumpkin soup, smoked trout cake and steamed littleneck clams. The recently opened—as of this fall—Hen of the Wood Restaurant is known for its local commitment, too, by supporting family farmers and foragers. (The Hen of the Woods mushrooms are a delectable testament to this.) The hotel also has 11 local distillery partners. Guests can learn about crafting cocktails using local Vermont ingredients in the onsite mixology program.
Guests are encouraged to explore the local culture—art galleries at nearby Church Street Marketplace, for instance—through the hotel’s complimentary bike sharing program. Local bike shop, Old Spokes Home, provides the bike fleet, which is available to guests for two hours at a time. The hotel also offers organized hikes and sailing trips as well as works with local ropes-course and zipline organizers, says van Wees.
Even the process of getting ready for bed incorporates a Vermont bent with a bedtime menu that features local Lunaroma Aromatherapy, a Vermont flannel pajama selection and even a custom Vermont teddy bear.